I've always found visits to the supermarket utterly engaging. Whether it is observing a single man's auto-pilot mode when it comes to grocery shopping or finding out about that product that seems to have hit the sweet-spot-need-state that the category leader has failed to tap - there's always something new to learn during a visit to the supermarket.
On a recent visit to the supermarket, I managed to take this picture without getting thrown out of yet another supermarket.
This is a picture of 2 Korean Nationals buying not 1 or 2, but 54 bars of Himalaya Moisturizing Almond soap. They were initially looking for Medimix soaps but since the retailer had only one Medimix soap bar, the retailer convinced them to pick up Himalaya Moisturizing Almond soaps instead.
Why did they buy 54 of these?
Apparently, because they don't get these products back in Korea. They weren't specifically looking for Himalaya soaps but for any "ethnic" soap with "natural" ingredients. It's not just Koreans... The other day I spoke to an American woman picking up a Chandrika soap who gave me the same reasoning. Well, not the same - she was taking the soap back to the States not Korea.
I remember in the '90s, perhaps even in the '80s, NRIs used to bring Yardley perfumes and talcum powders for their families in India. Seems like, with enough proliferation of foreign nationals in India - the reverse is happening.
The home-grown products and brands that we tend to take for granted in India - some of which are considered "down-market" by some Indian consumers - are the very products that foreign nationals find attractive. The neglected "ethnic" brands would do well to ask themselves the question:
Are we marketing to the right audience?
A change in distribution strategy might not only increase sales, but might also pull-up the imagery of the brands in question.
This effect of an Indian Marketer's products appealing to a foreign audience isn't necessarily restricted to beauty products and "ethnic" brands per se. Food and apparel could well be other categories where this effect could be evident.
So, are you marketing to the right audience?